Saturday, June 30, 2007

mGinger feasibility study: Should I advertise on mGinger?

mGinger paid SMS advertising: effectiveness and reality check

Shrinidhi Hande presents you with yet another case study, this time our own new Indian startup, a new venture which pays you to receive SMS advertisements on your cell.

Last month, I got over 50 invites from several contacts to sign up for a website under their referral. I ignored all those invitations and have been studying mGinger for sometime now. This post is to share my thoughts and analysis on this very new concept and business model of SMS advertising, its feasibility and sustainability.

mGinger: The mediating company which hunts advertisers willing to advertise through SMS and dispatches such ads to its members charging advertisers for the service and passing a part of income to members for receiving ads.
Advertiser: An enterprise willing to pay mGinger for giving publicity to its products and services via SMS
Members: Mobile users who have registered themselves with mGinger by giving their personal details, preferences etc and have opted to receive SMS ads in consideration for money.

The scheme is something like this:

Mginger pays you to receive contextual ads by SMS and all you have to do is register yourself, select the types of ads you want to receive, refer your friends for the program, sit back and enjoy. Ads will flow into your inbox, and you’ll be paid 20 paise per ad SMS that you receive directly and 5 paise for each SMS your friends receive. Per day a maximum of 10 SMS will be sent and the potential is that you may make thousands of rupees every month just for receiving SMS. mGinger would get this money from advertisers who will be paying for the publicity given.

Though this concept is new in India, it already does exist in UK (by a company called mindMatics) and some other countries. The promoters of mGinger are ISB graduates so it wouldn’t be fair to suspect their vision and only time will tell if mGinger will be a hit or a miss. The idea seems extremely innovative and exciting at the first glance but this author’s eyes and brain easily penetrate behind the superficial layer and I have following observation:

Conventional advertising: When an advertiser advertises in TV or newspaper or internet, the end user (viewer/reader/surfer) is not at all paid to see the ad and is often forced to see the commercial and the commodity/service being promoted gets registered in his mind when he sees it embedded in between other content (TV program or news article) that he is interested in viewing/reading.

SMS advertising: Recipient receives ads with sole reason of making money. He may or may not choose to even read the ads, let alone making use of it.

If I’m an entrepreneur and wish to advertise my product/service, what counts for me is how many people out of all those who received my advertisement eventually come to my shop and make some purchase. How many SMS ads get converted into business enquiries and subsequently into sales is something yet to be seen. In conventional medium, at least the product/service gets registered in the mind of target audience as they see the ad but in SMS ads, if everyone deletes the SMS without even reading it, my entire expenditure goes down the drain. Say as a businessman I spend Rs 1 lakh for advertising and say mGinger sends one ad each to 1 lakh people. mGinger is happy, its members are happy, but unless some of them come to by shop, do some business and I get a profit which exceeds what I spent its not useful for me. In order to ensure positive ROI, mGinger needs to send SMS only to those selective members who are likely to make use of the information given.

mGinger is very much aware of this and is categorizing its user profiles. If you do not understand what I mean by customized advertising, read below examples:

*If a bank wants to send SMS promoting personal loans, such SMS needs to be sent only to salaried or professionals who have proven income and may need a loan. Sending home loan ad to college student will be waste of money as they’re not eligible for a loan.
mGinger logo

*If a restaurant in a particular area of a city has some new schemes and wants to promote it, people living in surrounding areas are prime targets. If that SMS is sent to someone living in other part of town, chances are less that he’ll travel all the way to this hotel.

*If advertisers have information that I have not gone on a vacation for quite a long time now, I become easy target for any holiday plans and schemes, because chances of me considering one are more if I get a good deal. On the other hand if I’ve just returned from a vacation, I may not consider another for near future, irrespective of how tempting the offer is.

*If I'm trying to sell an expensive item, say a Mercedez Car, I would want to target only those who earn high income, say Rs 1 lakh or more per month and not everyone on the street.

In order to achieve this kind of personalization, mGinger will need huge member base to meet any combination of profile an advertiser may demand, and they need advertisers to send ads for various kinds of users they have. Building this database will take time.

Note: None of the advertising medium gives guaranteed results (i.e. just because you advertise on leading news paper or TV channel there's no assurance that people will line up in front of your shop next day and buy what ever you offer, the ads just help to get the message across (that you're offering something) to the masses). While conventional medium like TV and print have been time tested and proven to be effective, we'll need to wait for sometime for some businessman to try this relatively new concept of SMS advertising and declare if he's happy/not happy with the overall outcome and effectiveness.

Risks for advertisers: If recipients install SMS spam filtering software and get all mginger ads deleted outright the very purpose of reaching the target audience gets defeated. (Such feature already exists in emails as all of us know and it is only a matter of time before they appear in mobiles)

Currently mGinger doesn’t have enough inventories of ads to serve all its members, which has resulted in members listing for all possible categories they can (hoping to get more ads), this dilutes quality of target audience.

SMS traffic: Let us assume one fine day mGinger gathers enough advertisers willing to pay for SMS ads and starts sending SMS to members in full scale. This means lakhs of outgoing SMS daily. Are our cell phone infrastructure prepared to handle this much volume? Already we are facing congestions during festival season when everyone sends festival greetings to all his/her contacts. Soon they (mobile service providers like Airtel and Hutch) will start demanding a share in profits, either from subscribers or from mGinger or both.

What does TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has to say about this? This is purely a commercial activity on a mobile network meant by and large for personal usage. Commercial SMSs (SMSs sent to 4 digit numbers like the ones you send to download ringtones, to cast your vote for Indian Idol) are charged at a premium (Rs 3,5 or 7 as the case may be) and a fraction of this goes to government as tax. Will not the government love to have a share from mGinger’s business? If you’re starting a hotel you need to keep price of commercial LPG in mind. Profitability will be hit if you print your menu thinking you’ll be able to cook with domestic LPG. Probably mGinger team has some way to counter this.

It is possible to show highly interactive/creative ads in print/TV media and grab attention but only plain text messages can be sent as SMS, which will be boring for people to read. (Well, mGinger can surely consider MMS advertising if SMS ads succeed!!!)

mGinger has managed to gather subscribers base of few lakhs (I don’t have exact number, 4.5 lakh and growing is the available number) . This appears ineffective compared to millions of viewers TV channels or internet websites claim to have and is not a tempting enough number for an advertiser to choose this as a medium. Existing members who are expecting mGinger to generate enough revenue at least to foot their monthly telephone bill, are getting disappointed that they’re not getting much (if any) ads. For mGinger, it is like egg first or hen-they need huge member base to convince advertisers and members need advertisements flowing into their inbox right away.

Some analysts compare mGinger with Google adsense and say mGinger will be more successful than adsense. I disagree. Google had huge list of advertisers and they didn’t have enough web pages of their own to display all these ads and eventually they came up with idea of adsense, showing their ads on other websites with a revenue sharing model. mGinger yet to build up its database.

How will mGinger protect its members from unsolicited spam messages? Advertisers may ask all details of members (like show me to who all you sent my SMS?) and if mGinger shows your details (see Boss I sent your SMS to these 10000 people), the advertiser now has your name, phone number, preference and other details. Next time, he may choose to approach you directly instead of coming through mGinger, which will increase unsolicited SPAM messages. So mGinger will have to prevent its database from getting into wrong hands and need a mechanism to prove that right ads have been delivered to right members without compromising on member data.

This post is not to criticize mGinger or to discourage you from becoming a member. Any new start up will face several hurdlers like these and we hope mGinger will overcome all of them and will prove to be beneficial to everyone involved. mGinger team has been very honest in their statements and they have evaded most of the myths surrounding the concept (like everyone thought they’ll become rich overnight, but it is not so)

mGinger is spreading like wildfire among students and professionals alike but advertisers will take their own time to analyze this new concept before they can trust this and choose to spend on it. Several competitions have also come up promising more lucrative returns than mGinger. While there’s no guaranteed return, sharing all personal information in order to get target ads is something one needs to be a bit cautious about.

The biggest challenge for mGinger now is to convince advertisers to spend on SMS ads by assuring them of a positive ROI. Obviously they can't approach advertisers saying "We've half million SMS hungry members,please do charity". They have managed to lure ordinary people into registering with the temptation of free money, but a seasoned businessman will not succumb to any hype or temptation and will use rely on his own instincts and judgement to decide if he should spend on this. Members may soon get frustrated if they dont make even a minimum of say Rs 50-100 per month and pressure from other sides (from Govt, competitor, telecom operators etc) may creep in as well. I wish mGinger all the best.

mGinger official website | Clear your myths about mGinger here |Read this article on Mouthshut|mGinger mGinger website for advertisers (AdGinger!)

April 2009 Update: One mginger user has proudly presented the cheque he received from mGinger. (sourced from a Kannada forum-Maja Maadi). he says it took him about 8 months, 1000+ SMSs to earn 302 Rs. So it works-earning about 1+ rupee a day for receiving about 5 SMSs. Sounds insignificant but still money is money for those it matters.
If you liked above post, you may also like these similar posts:
*Analysis of MLM & Network Marketing Companies
* i-Mint Customer reward program-Whatever I do, I don't mint
* Redbus online ticket booking-Service review

Shrinidhi beats 2 million websites for rejection handling

I’m delighted to share this with you. One of my articles on rejection handling, published on this blog ( has beaten over 2050000 websites for the topic of rejection handling.

If you search in Google for rejection handling, my blog appears in top 5-10 results out of over 20 lakh probable websites which contain information on rejection handling

Check the image below,
Shrinidhi Hande's article on rejection handling tops search results beating 2 million websites
or check this link or try on your own at Google

I take it as a compliment for the quality of my content (coupled with some basic SEO tactics) and thank all my readers on this occasion.

Other popular search strings for which my blog tops the chart are: Club Mahindra membership fee, BMTC Volvo city bus, IBM satyam acquisition rumor, Skandagiri hills etc.

Disclaimer: Search engine indexing is dynamic phenomenon and results may vary w.r.t. time, location, search string, search engine used etc. Information given here represents the information available with the author at the time of composing this post for the stated search string on

July 13 2007 Update: Number has increased to 2 million from 1.2 now...

June 2009 update: 2 years later, this post on rejection handling still tops Google...beating more than 3 million pages

June Photo Updates

This post contains some new photos related to some of my old posts published earlier.
If I just update old posts regular visitors like you are likly to miss them, hence a separate post.

In my "Read this fancy numberplate" post I wrote about some cars sporting unreadable number plates. Recently captured another car with such unreadable fancy number plate, this time a Skoda octavia. Logesh was probably right in saying they migh be some rich and influencial people.
June photo updates!

In my post: Why spiderman can't work in India, I have shown some messed up cables loosely hanging ( a scene we find in most of our cities). Got few more such photos recent as a mail forward. See them below:

June photo updates!

June photo updates!

Banglore's BMTC updates:
BMTC has recently launched Hosptal special services, besides several other services described in mu Kudo's BMTC post. The hospital service buses include beds as seats on which patients can sleep comfortably, curtains to windows to prevent dust, and these buses cover all major hospitals in Bangalore. Though those on emergency can't wait for these buses, they're good for those going for OPDs (Out Patient Departments).

Advertisements have started appearing even on doors now for Bangalore's Volvo city buses.
Bangalore Volvo city bus by BMTC photo!
A recently taken photo of Women Only bus of BMTC (Though BMTC has not yet ventured into hiring lady drivers, I remember reading in newspaper somewhere else (TN/Kerala/AP I'm not sure, few female drivers are already operating)
Photo of BMTC women only bus
Host unlimited photos at for FREE!
Photo of Bangalore BMTC Women only city bus!
You might have heard of Moti the dog guiding its owner to the place where thieves hid the stolen goods. This video is of our cat which lead us some distance, din't show any jewels though (or may be we failed to understand?)

Our pet cat's photo session has got some more pics now.
Pet cat!
Pet cat!
Pet cat!
Pet cat!
Relative's photos
Pet cat!
Pet cat!
For eNidhi drives tractor post one commenter wanted more info on old tractors: Here're some pics of an old tractor: Note the thin size of rear wheels.
old tractor
old tractor

Two more photos of Karkala
Steps leading to chaturmuka basadi!
Steps leading to chaturmuka basadi.
Protected monument!
Protected monument

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Lightscribe direct on disc labeling

his post aims to be your comprehensive guide to light scribe direct disc labeling technology.
DVD burnt using lightscribe direct disc labeling technology
Conventionally, when you burn a CD/DVD, you’ll label it either using a marker, or by attaching a paper sticker on it and writing on it. With the new lightscribe direct on disc labeling, you can do away with such messy affairs and create neat and customized labels on your discs.
creating lightscribe custom labels using Roxio express labeler
If you’ve been hunting for notebooks of late, or have been following the new trends in technology, you might have come across this term called Lightscribe DVD writers. What is this light scribe? Is it a company that makes DVD writers? No. It is a technology using which you can create labels on the top surface of CDs and DVDs. We’ll explore this in detail here.

Lighscribe direct disc labeling technology is a relatively new concept invented and promoted by Hewlett Packard. (For this reason only HP pavilion notebooks come with built in lightscribe DVD RW drives at present, though there’re external DVD writers from LG and other optical drive manufacturers who have released light-scribe enabled writers.)
Hewlett Packard (HP) official Logo
Lightscribe drives contain a laser beam inside the optical writer besides typical CD/DVD read write heads (refer images). This laser beam can burn the disc surface to create an image/text impression which can be used as a disc label. No inks, no paper labels on the CD/DVD.

Burn your DVD/CD as usual on a lightscribe disc, take it out, invert the disc, insert, create label and customize it (labeling software, such as Roxio or Nero etc) usually comes free with the hardware), and burn the label. So simple.
Imation lightscribe DVD R

Can I use any CD/DVD for burning labels? NO. You’ll need special lightscribe compatible optical discs to burn labels, which costs extra (pricing and availability discussed later in the post). These special CDs/DVDs will have an additional coating on the non writing surface, on which laser beam can create burn the label. These discs will also have optical markings to guide the laser beam to correct position.

Can't I use ordinary CD/DVDRs at all in lightscribe writers?
Yes you can burn data/movie etc on a regular CDR/DVDR using a lightscribe capable drive. You cant burn labels on them, that's it.

Please note: You can use light scribe compatible drive as regular DVD burner and use ordinary/regular CD DVD media in them. No problem at all (lightscribe is only an additional feature in the conventional DVD Writer. You need to use lightscribe compatible discs only if you wish to burn the label using lightscribe laser. Else it can function as regular writer.
lightscribe official logo
Note: Laser can burn anything hence you can try your luck with burning on a paper label sticker. But it is highly recommended NEVER to attempt this, because paper particles get disintegrated easily and are very much likely to harm the sensitive micro electro mechanisms in your optical drive.

As usual, we’ll analyze the pros and cons of this new concept and technology.
1. Neat and clean label, no need to stick a paper label, write using hand etc.
2. Long lasting permanent imaging (Paper labels and marker writings will disintegrate over a period of time)
3. Fully customizable with your name, company logo, pictures etc. When you’re gifting the DVD to someone or giving it to client or storing highly memorable events (like marriage videos) or important data, it will create a huge impression if you use customized labeling on the disc.

1. Expensive: The drive itself is expensive (by a few hundred rupees), but the main factor is cost of lightscribe CDs and DVDs. Entry level DVD-Rs cost around Rs 13 onwards and branded ones like Sony cost Rs.16 onwards per disc on bulk purchase/whole sale shops, though your neighborhood stationery store would retail them at twice that amount.. (Sony 16x DVD-R 25 disc pack was being sold at Rs 400 in Secunderabad, mid June 2007 prices). One single layer DVD+R with a jewel case retails at around Rs 25/30, but a lightscribe DVD costs 2-3 times that. Imation lightscribe DVD+R was costing Rs 60 per unit when I bought (again, there’s no fixed price as such. Depends on you negotiation skills and quantity you buy. I checked in 4-5 shops, who quoted different prices from Rs 65 to Rs 100 per unit). Your next door stationery storekeeper is unlikely to have a stock of lightscribe media as the demand for this is yet to pick up. You’ll have to source it directly from your city’s wholesale hub (like SP road in Bangalore, Richie street in Chennai or Secunderabad’s CTC etc).
2. Time: Burning label would take another 20-30 minutes.
3. Mono color: Multi colour burning is yet to arrive. Currently laser burns in black only, though discs with different surface colours are available (as against the golden colour shown here) which results is varied background to increase effectiveness.
4. Second time burning required to make it further dark (if required)
burn flip create label using lightscribe
Lightscribe CD-Rs were not available in Secunderabad market when I enquired, heard they cost around INR 25 (US $ 0.6 approx). (vis-a-vis INR 6 of a normal CDR)

So high price of media makes litescribe uneconomical to use for regular day to day usage, but it is only a matter of time before the price drops to a reasonable amount. (DVD writers were priced at Rs 16000 + in 2001/2002, today they cost just around Rs 2000, similarly Blu-ray writers cost over INR 32000 currently, expect them to fall below 10k in couple of years)

More: Read more about Lightscribe on Wikipedia | or visit Lightscribe official website
Verbatim multi coloured lightscribe DVDs
Disclaimer: Lightscribe name and logo are property of Hewlett Packard (HP)Development Company. This post serves as informative guide only. Photos (other than logos) by the Author.

July '07 Update: 9 out of 10 shops in SP road Bangalore, India had no stock of lightscribe media. One shop which had them was selling at Rs 50 per CD and Rs 100 per DVD. Too much.

Related: Comparison of Notebook Brands: Dell vs HP vs Sony vs Others(100+ comments so far) | Flaws in HP Recovery Manager |

eNidhi India-Blog Disclaimer

All contents of this blog are governed by these policies.

1. All contents published in this blog are intellectual property of Shrinidhi Hande and should not be reproduced or copied without permission and/or without giving credit.

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All links given to commercial websites will carry rel=”nofollow” tag, for the fear that Google will interpret them as sponsored posts and may choose to penalize me. Please be informed that I’m not doing any sponsored posting on this blog (as of now) and articles/links on commercial websites are given because I find them relevant/interesting/useful to the readers.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Drive-in Cinema in Coastal Karnataka

This post is an English translation of one of my Kannada article, which you can read here.(I contributed as guest writer at Majavani, an award winning and popular Kannada blog)

Non Kannada readers will need quick background info before starting off with the article.

Udupi and Mangalore (aka Dakshina Kannada or South Canara) districts are located in coastal Karnataka, India, stretching along the Arabian Sea in the west and Western Ghats in the east. Kundapur is a taluk headquarter, while Udupi and Mangalore are district headquarters (refer map). National Highway Number 17 passes through these districts connecting the cities mentioned above. Public transport is dominated by private bus operators as against state owned RTC buses in most of the other parts of the state. These private bus operators compete with each other in launching new and luxurious buses even for the local travel and these buses cruise at top speeds on the narrow NH17 literally forcing small vehicles off the road while these buses overtake each other. Ticket prices are high compared to RTC buses.

Recently, some bus operators have introduced TVs and DVD players in their buses and have started showing movies on the go. This article is conceived after seeing one such bus. (Check photo) Though translation has spoiled the fun of original article a bit I’ve tried to retain the humor to the extent possible

Video coach buses were luxury in my childhood days, though now they have become common in intercity long distance buses, but of late what surprised me is that some inter district local city buses have started showing movies, in coastal districts of Karnataka.

Distance from Kundapura to Udupi is 36kms and from Udupi to Mangalore it is 60 kms. Express buses plying in this route usually take around 2 hours to read from Kundapura to Mangalore. Now that they are showing movies inside the bus,a new problem as arised: To watch the movie completely one need to travel one full trip (say from Kundapura to Udupi to Mangalore) and return back half a trip, say from Mangalore to Udupi (i.e. make unnecessary travel)

Further, audio is audible only to those sitting in first two rows, due to various disturbances such as open windows etc. These two rows have ladies reservation, because of which male passengers are unable to hear the sound. Hence male passengers have raised the request that women reservation for these two rows be suspended and declared as “Gandhi class”

Whenever there're standing seats (Passengers standing when all seats are occupied) those sitting in left half of the bus are denied this golden opportunity of watching movies on the go. Because of this people have requested for a dedicated secondary TV for left half of the bus.

Drivers have expressed disappointment that the TV is located behind their back instead of keeping it in front of them, depriving them of an opportunity of enjoying the movie while driving. They want the television to be moved forward by 2 feet more.

This journalist spoke to a lady passenger waiting for the bus in Udupi for her opinion and she said “in past 5 minutes 10 buses have left for Mangalore, none of them were showing the Salman Khan movie I wanted; hence I’m waiting for next bus. How can I reach college on time if this happens?”

Regular commuters have demanded that bus operators release time table of movies they’re going to play each day in advance, along with bus timings, so that people can check which movie is coming in which bus and board the bus accordingly.(And if the movie is to start at few stops prior to from where one would be boarding the bus, he/she can consider going back in reverse direction by taking another bus to that stop)

Is this what drive-in cinema mean? Ask villagers who have heard people from cities use that term.
Even Volvo city buses in Bangalore do not have this unique feature and we're lucky to have that...they added...

A quick video related to this is given below:

Map sourced from MapsofIndia.

Related: Photos of Manipal Endpoint (These are places near Udupi)| Raveesh's photos of Mangalore| News about GPS tracking facility is Udupi's express Buses|Photos of Karkala | Manipal Bloggers' Meet

Also read: 2-2 TVs in coastal Karnataka buses (a sequel to this post)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

If Dell sells Motorcycles

Computer Maker Dell Inc's business model has been legendary and unparalleled in the industry. Dell deals directly with the customers, allows them to customize their system as they wish and delivers it to them direct. No middlemen involved. I've already written detailed analysis of Dell's Business Model, pros and cons which can be read here: Part 1 and Part 2

In this post I'm taking you through an imaginary customization page, wherein an imaginary company, let us say Bell Bikes allows people to customize their bikes (or other two wheelers for that matter).

Assumption: Motohard is the leading engine manufacturer whose engines Bell Bikes use in their bikes.

I did not have the time to make this page as interactive as Dell's customization page and have used basic XHTML tags to give you a similar usability.

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to make fun or any individual or organization, and represents only an imaginary situation as how how things will be if the business model is applied elsewhere. No offense is meant.

Welcome to Bell Speedron 6400 Customization Page

A. Select your Engine
1. Free POS (Peddle Operated System-bike with no IC engine, equivalent to bicycle)
2. 1000 cc Domestic (Option 1 + Rs 18000)
3. 1000 cc Domestic Deluxe (Option 1 + Rs 19600)
4. 1000 cc Cargo Heavy Duty (Option 1 + Rs 22000)
5. 1000 cc Express Highway (Option 1 + Rs 23080)

Though Motohard wanted people to upgrade their engines every year to higher capacity, most of the customers never used to do that. They were comfortable with 1998 model 98cc engine and never bothered to pay for newer engines.
Because of this Motohard has eventually stopped supporting their 98cc engine and you can now only select their latest 1000 cc engines.

Motohard 1000cc engines come with some unique security futures which make driving very safe.
Some of the features:
* Every time you take a turn or enter a new road, Motohard engine will come to a stop, prompt you to verify your action like "You've turned left: Continue/Cancel and go straight", "You're about to enter a new road Are you sure you can trust this road?".
*Bikes with Motohard 1000cc engines can be used ONLY on super highways containing minimum of four lanes or more. You might be able to run your bikes on some three lane expressways but engine performance will immediately drop to that of a 100cc engine (without increase in mileage) till you reach a road with 4 lanes. Forget running your bike on two lane or single lane roads (After all that's for your own safety and security!!!) Motohard has asked municipalities to upgrade their roads to suit Motohard engines but not all have complied. Since Motohard has monopoly in engine manufacturing it expects that roads and vehicles world wide should be re deisgned to suit the engines they produce, not vice versa. After all, if a road is not fit enough to take Motohard engine, its not worth taking at all. When you can cruise on intercity highways at lightening speed, it doesn't make any difference if you cant use the bike to drive in city's old by lanes that doesn't support Motohard

B. Select Wheels
Alloy wheels look stylish and are light weight and give better fuel efficiency
1. 17" Spoke wheels
2. 17" Alloy wheels (Option 1 + Rs 1000)
C. Select Tyres
Consider Tuff up tyres for better reliability and worry free driving experience
1. 17" Standard MRF Tyres
2. 17" Tubeless tyres (Option 1 + Rs 900)
3. 17" Tubeless tyres with Tuff Up and Extra Grip (Option 1 + Rs 1200)
D. Select your Petrol Tank
Be sure to select higher capacity fuel tank to ensure that you never run out of fuel.
1. 12 Liter Standard (2 Litre reserve )
2. 15 Litre Extra Large (2 Litre reserve) (After Free upgrade)
3. 15 Liter Extra Large with protective coating (3 Litre reserve)(Option 2 + Rs 90)
3. 18 Liter Extra Large with protective coating and 5 Litre reserve (Bell recommended for 1000 cc Express highway engines (Option 2 + Rs 250)
E. Select Console
Select what all operational parameters you want to know and how
1. Basic Console (Speedometer, Odometer and neutral light (Analog)
2. Analog Twin Pod console (Speedo, Odo, Tacho and Trip meters) (Option 1 + Rs 170)
3. Digital Console (Option 1 + Rs 491)
F. Select Transmission
Advanced transmissions give you better control on driving speed, pickup and fuel economy.
1. Automatic transmission
2. 4 speed manual, all down style (Option 1 + Rs 332)
3. 5 Speed manual, 1 down 4 up style (Option 1 + Rs 521)
4. Advanced 5 Forward and 1 Reverse (Option 1 + Rs 952)
G. Select braking
Never compromise on safety. Be sure to select a braking system that never betrays you.
1. Drum Brakes (Front and Rear)
2. Front Disc brake, rear drum (After Free upgrade)
3. Front and rear Disc brakes, 120mm ventilated (Option 2 + Rs 998)
H. Select Registration
Registration is a statutory requirement before you can run the vehicle on public roads. Check with your RTO for further details
1. Temporary registration (Valid for 30 days)
2. 1 Year All India Permit Taxi registration (Yello board) (Option 1 + Rs 952)
3. Lifetime Non commercial registration (National) (Option 1 + Rs 2352)
4. International Registration (Option 1 + US $ 400)
5. Go through an RTO agent for faster registration (Agent bribe Rs 1100 Extra)
I. Select insurance
Insure and be secure.
1. 1 Year TPL (Third Party Liability *1)insurance
2. 1 Comprehensive Insurance (Option 1 + Rs 300)
3. 2 Year Comprehensive insurance with No claim bonus (Option 1 + Rs 700)
When Govt says insurance is mandatory for vehicles, what they mean is Third Party liability insurance (Which only covers your liability to third person, if your vehicle causes any damage to others, it doesn't compensate you for damages caused to your vehicle). Most of the insurance companies force customers to take comprehensive insurance and do not allow them to take just TPL.
J. Select Warranty
Upgrade your warranty for a longer peaceful life
1. 1 year next business day puncture repair warranty
2. 1 Year 9 to 5 telephone support (Option 1 + Rs 299)
3. 2 Year OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Warranty (Option 1 + Rs 637)
K. Select lightings
Make your night life more colourful with powerful lighting
1. Basic Lighting
2. Dual lamp bright view lighting (Option 1 + Rs 222)
3. Dual lamp bright view lighting with clear lense and LED tail lamp (Option 1 + Rs 298)
L. Training Material
You should know driving to drive your bike. Try our online/off line courses with objective questions in the end to verify your skills
1. Learn Personal Driving Online training kit (Rs 300)
2. Learn Professional Driving Online training kit(Rs 800)
3. Telephone assistance on driving(Rs 156)
4. none
M. Suspension
Choosing a better suspension will free you from back aches
1. Telescopic front and dual spring rear
2. Telescopic front and mono rear)(Option 1 + Rs 470)
3. Telescopic front and GAS absorbed rear (Option 1 + Rs 480)
N. Select body colour
Give us a colour of your choice. Bell will paint your bike with that colour
1. I'll paint myself
2. Plain colour (Enter hexadecimal value of the colour you want here )(Rs 190)
3. Metalic (Enter hexadecimal value of the colour you want here )(Rs 301)
O. Bike specifications (Included in the unit)

  • Double cradle chassis

  • Aerodynamic design

  • Standard electricals

  • Sulphuric Acid rechargeable battery

  • Owner's manual

  • First Aid Kit

  • Tool kit

  • Basic seating

  • Aircraft style fuel tank lid

  • Extended Indicators

  • Deluxe handle bar with Handlebar balancers

  • Dual rear view mirrors

  • Central locking

  • Central Stand

  • Mud guard

  • 2 PTTP(S)-Petrol Transport and Transfer Port, Secure

  • Standard exhaust system

P. Optional Services
1. Filling Air in tyres (Rs 100 Extra)
2. Extra greasing of wheel chain (Rs 156)
Q. Optional Features
1. Remote locking and fingerprint ignition (Rs 4000 Extra)
2. Side stand with alarm (Rs 106)
3. Turn indicator buzzer (Rs 36)
4. Bluetooth 2.0 with EFR (enhanced fuel & air refil) and wireless fuel and air transfer feature (Rs 967)
5. Cruise control (Rs 1006)
6. Nitrogen boosters (Rs 5092)
7. Face recognition with proximity sensor (Rs 1126)
8. GPS (Rs 1076)
R. Spare accessories
1. Spare tyre (Rs 906)
2. Extra helmet Full face with hairstyle protector and earphone jack(Rs 1055)
3. Extra helmet half face(Rs 457)
4. Bell Branded leather vehicle cover (Rs 316)
5. 4 Liter spare fuel tank (Rs 399)
6. 6 Liter spare fuel tank (Rs 457)
7. Additional baby seat on fuel tank (Rs 198)
8. Crash Guard (Rs 99)
9. Saree guard (Rs 66)
10. Teflon Coating (Rs 216)
11. Self Start with dedicated starter motor (Rs 744)
12. Body coloured mirror (in lieu of regular mirror)(Rs 202)
13. Body coloured mirror (in lieu of regular mirror) with built in indicator lamps (Rs 263)
14. Designer Seat Covers (Rs 156)
Speacial Discounts
1. Free upgrade from 12 litre to 15 litre fuel tank
2. Free vehicle cover (Nylon)
3. Free 0.2 litre petrol preloaded
4. Rs 4000 Cash off
5. No Further discounts apply
6. Includes Bell India delivery charges but excludes taxes
7. Euro II emission test certificate (Valid for 6 months)
8. Free upgrade to Front Disc brake
Now that you've fallen pray to our upselling strategies and total bike price has amounted to three times what you started off with, we're sure you'll have fun with our custom bikes

While it will be great idea to be able to have Pulsar body with a Platina engine, a CBZ extreme body with splendor engine (or Vice Versa), assembly line at the plant will require a redesign to be flexible enough to handle versatile orders.

Shipping cost of a bike will be too much and will erode the price advantage of not having a reseller. If some business tycoons are interested in trying this strategy, they're welcome. Also, will you be comfortable in buying a bike blindly without taking a test drive?

Prices are imaginary and may not reflect realistic value
Tell me what do you think.

Photo Quiz

See the picture below and tell me what comes to your mind.

A multinational IT company, in association with another Hyderabad based IT company took up lot of social service activities recently on the occasion of world environment day. They went around the city, planted trees, took sessions on importance of eco balance, risks of using plastic etc for the public.

Subsequently, Hyderabad edition of Metro Plus, a city based supplement of The Hindu, India’s National newspaper, came up with an article and a photo regarding this in its June 11 2007 issue. I could not find this particular report in the online edition of the supplement, hence giving below the scanned copy of the article.

While this author has full respects for the social service activities these techies have rendered, he has made a sharp observation in the photograph above. Because I don’t know any of these people in the photo and I don’t have anything personal against them or their company I’ve masked their company name on the T shirt. Poor quality of scanner at the cyber café has resulted in image distortion, for which I apologize.

Check the photo above and comment as to what do you think. Is everything normal? Anything odd? Something wrong somewhere? Comment your observation. I have written a small dummy case study based on the thoughts triggered after seeing this image. Before I publish that, I wish to involve my readers in this.

I’m waiting to see if your observation matches mine. Drop a comment.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Coco Fresco Hyderabad-Promoting tender coconut water

Coco board of Hyderabad has launched a new concept for promoting tender coconut. It has set up over 20 mobile units dispensing tender coconut water. These units are called COCO Fresco. The green coloured carts have a chamber to store over 100 coconuts in it, mechanical devices to cut open the coconut, filter the coconut water and then the coconut water is distributed in a plastic glass to the customers.
Coco Fresco coconut vending machine!
This post contains a video on how this Coco Fresco unit works and also analysis pros and cons of buying tender coconut water from these units, vis-à-vis buying from other street side coconut vendors. Read related news article [here] More about Coco-Fresco dispenser and other coconut based products in FruitHut website

Video on how the Coco Fresco tender coconut juice vending card operates:

1. Guaranteed volume:
You get one glass full of coconut water (Priced at Rs 10 per glass)
When you buy individual coconuts, there’s no guarantee on volume of consumable coconut water inside, because the outer size of the shell is not always proportional to the volume of the core containing water.

2. Cooler
This cart stores coconut under a closed chamber, unlike other roadside vendors who usually expose the tender coconut to direct sun. The cart also comes with an umbrella, under which you can take shelter while drinking.

3. Filtered coconut water:
The water is filtered and free from non consumable objects

4. Slightly hygienic:
This cart appears to be more hygienic than a roadside vendor, but coconut shell is heavily protected by itself and is usually free from external infections. Contamination if any can happen only while opening and drinking.

5. Ease of operation: Cutting open the tender coconut will take some extra effort if one is not physically strong. This unit has mechanical tools to assist the operator in that

1.Mixed water:
If one single coconut doesn’t fill the glass, water from another coconut is mixed with it. Though coconut from a same bunch of a given tree will be usually similar in taste, not all coconuts will have same taste. Some are sweet, some are plain, and some are even sour. If you’re not lucky, the combination of different flavors might spoil the taste.

2. Loss of gravy:
Tender coconut often contains white gravy (cream, Known as Coconut Meat in English (Thanks to Dharani for this input)) which is also a consumable part. But Coco Fresco doesn’t have a mechanism to extract that and allow consumers to eat it. The operator simply throws coconut shell after extracting water.

3. Use of plastic:
They’re distributing coconut water in plastic cups, which is non bio degradable waste. The cart doesn’t have a place to store these waste plastic or consumed coconut shell and the operator simply throws them away to the roadside.

4. Non competitive pricing:
Rs 10 per glass is not competitive enough I feel. (Retail pricing of tender coconuts in Hyderabad is Rs 5 onwards and go upto Rs 10 (depending on size, freshness etc))

I still prefer to drink coconut directly from the shell by placing it next to mouth, instead of drinking via a straw or from a glass. But Coco board’s Coco Fresco will certainly manage to attract those people who prefer branded and well marketed products.

Because the concept is new people are checking it out at least out of curiosity. I find at least one or two people around this cart whenever I drive by...

Related: How to select good tender coconut?* Upadhya's tender coconut Opener (A trendy and easy to use tool to drill a hole into tender coconut and extract water) * Branding tender coconut with a sticker * A list of natural drinks for this summer *

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Factors to be considered while bidding for office canteen

You’ve been eating in office canteen…Have you ever bothered to think what it takes to run an office canteen?

Probably you were involved in writing business proposals or responding to request for proposals, ever thought what it takes to bid for an office canteen? For a change, this post is a quick listing of facts one should keep in mind while bidding for an office canteen, from the perspective of a catering service vendor or hotel operator.

Below are the facts an operator considers while competing with other vendors to win a contract to run office canteen for a specific period of time.

1.Number of staff/Seating capacity of the building. (Obviously this will give an estimate of business volume)

2. Distance from nearest alternative for an employee.
If there’s a hotel/mess across the street or within few kms of radius, chances are that a sizable no. of staff will go there instead of heading towards office canteen. This will affect revenue recognition. (External operators can always give same food at reduced process due to low overhead explained later)

3. No. of fully operational days
A normal hotel usually runs throughout the year, but office canteens (when office operates 5 days a week) run in full capacity on only 240 weekdays (minus holidays) and not 365 days. My annual ROI (Return on Investment) has to come from only these days and this also means that fixed changes need to be apportioned more aggressively.

4. Non billable overheads
In a conventional hotel/restaurant, people who come inside usually buy something. But in office canteens many people bring food from home but use office infrastructure, utensils, consumables (drinking water, tissue papers, plates, spoons (some people forget to return the spoons and take them home along with empty lunch box). These expenses are written off under goodwill and can’t be billed. The expense may be quite negligible but when hundreds of people do this, it amounts to considerable overhead and opportunity cost and needs to be apportioned to others who pay and eat.

5. Extra hygiene:
Office canteens demand extra investments to ensure that all possible precautions have been taken to ensure hygiene and quality in all phases of food production and distribution life cycle. Non compliance will result in anything from instant escalations to addition of extra clauses during agreement renewals to termination of contract.

6. VIP orders
In any office, there’ll be periodic VIP visits/conferences/meetings during with high quality snacks and drinks are sourced from canteen. In most government offices such supplies are taken for granted as complementary while some private companies allow billing.
Weekend operations
Though number of people who come to office on weekend are less, some companies insist that canteens should function on weekend. If the sales volume is not adequate, running on weekend means loss.

7. Restrictions on price hike
A roadside hotelier can hike the price of foods served at his restaurant at his own whims and fancy (concept of floating interest). In office canteen, once you commit on certain quality and price, compromising on quality/quantity or increasing the price in the middle of contract term will be met with stiff resistance (Concept of fixed interest, which is always higher than floating interest due to risk factor).

8. Distance
Some offices are located at the heart of city while others are miles away. Canteen operator needs to ship his daily groceries and every extra km the cargo truck has to travel will add to cost.

A catering operator considers all these factors during bidding and pricing decisions. Unless the Host Company or office subsidizes the expenses, above mentioned reasons are why we always feel canteen food is very expensive.

But they do make profit despite all these odds. (That's the sole purpose of running the business anyway)

Disclaimer: Contents are sourced from personal observation/analysis of the author. No offense is meant towards canteen operators or at those who eat there. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong anywhere.
March 2009: A relevant photograph added.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Karkala Bahubali, temples and other photos

Update: which hosted my photos is shut down. So no photos in this post.
Karkala is a taluk headquarter in Udupi district, Karnataka. This post shows you couple photos taken near one of the places of tourist interest in Karkala, Gomateshwara(aka Bahubali Statue).

Fully censored and U/A certified image of Bahubali (Gomateshwara) near Karkala. The highest Gomateshwara statue is located at Shravanabelagola [Full details on Gomateshwara]

Chaturmukha Basadi: View from top of the hill on which Bahubali Statue is located. This temple is based on jain architecture and hosts statues of different Jain leaders.

Bahubali statue far view (from Chaturmukha Basadi)

Steps leading to chaturmuka basadi.

Protected monument

Tourists in front of Chaturmuka Basadi (Four face temple). Chaturmukha basadi and Bahubali statue are quite nearby, within walkable distance. The location is very photoscopic.

Gomateshwara from side

‘Rama samudra’ lake. Municipality water supply for the Karkala town comes from this lake. (I'd thought it to be a river, thanks to Devika for correcting)


Coconut plantation

Another view

1000 pillars temple (Saavira kambada basadi), Moodabidri.

Photos by Shrinidhi.Digitally compressed images. Original high resolution photos were taken on Olympus FE 170 and can be made available on request.

Related: Endpoint Manipal Drive-in Cinema in coastal Karnataka (humor) * Maravante * Nagara * Moodbidri Koti Chennaya Kambala

Scenic Endpoint Manipal

Manipal is a suburb of Udupi, a district headquarter in coastal Karnataka. Manipal is famous for educational institutions and Medicare. In fact the KMC hospital at Manipal is the ultimate place in 200 km radius where any doctor would refer his/her patients if the ailment can’t be cured locally.(ಮಣಿಪಾಲಕ್ಕೆ ಕರೆದುಕೊ೦ಡು ಹೋಗಿ ಎ೦ದ ಮೇಲೆ ಬೇರೆ ಆಸ್ಪತ್ರೇ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಯೋಚಿಸುವ೦ತೆಯೇ ಇಲ್ಲ, ಮಣಿಪಾಲಕ್ಕೇ ಹೋಗಬೇಕು...) Syndicate Bank has its headquarters here in Manipal, and Manipal hosts huge number of educational institutions, including Manipal Institute of Technology and Kasturba Medical College and Hospital, Cancer research institute etc.

End point is a beautiful place in Manipal where people go to spend their evenings. The name is synonymous with the fact that this location is at the edge of the hill (Not sure if I can call it a hill, just that Manipal city is located at an elevated position compared to its surrounding). The river below, beautiful hills in the vicinity makes it a pleasant experience to spend time at.

Below are some photos I took last month from endpoint (I mean photos of the surrounding area taken from endpoint). Hope you’ll enjoy them.

If you think you know enough about Manipal, try answering couple of questions at the bottom of the post.

Endpoint Manipal photo image!

Sunset behind the recently constructed watch point...

Endpoint Manipal photo image!

Endpoint Manipal photo image!

More images are available below as a slideshow:

How to go to endpoint?
Enter Manipal town and ask anyone. Anyone can guide you to this place. There’s a straight road to this point.

Watch this video: The official video of Manipal University: A video based on Bryan Adam's Summer of '69-Excellent visualization. (sourced from YouTube)

Quiz time:
Q1. Name the river that flows near Manipal (Shown in the photos above)

Q2. Name the Hindi movie that was shot here in endpoint.

Drop your answers as a comment. No prizes guaranteed. Quiz open for 10 days. Will post answers as a comment on June 16th or 17th.

Update: Quiz is closed now. Answers in comment section. Thanks Raveesh for attempting.

March 2009 Update: During my May 2006 visit endpoint was a barren land. Now this place is well developed- there're 2 big fields-one for cricket and other for football and other such games, a jogging track, one nice garden and several viewpoints have been set up in this area...
Related: Karkala Bahubali and other photos | Video coach express buses in Kundapura - Udupi - Mangalore line (humor) | Manipal Bloggers' Meet MMSC 08 | Maravanthe | Bekal Fort | Skywatch Friday | Kodachadri | Murudeshwara * Ottinene

Sunday, June 03, 2007

My favorite lyrics lines

In this post I'm just listing couple of lyrics' lines while I like the best along with a brief description as to why I like them.

1.Time is the healer, time moves on… Time doesn’t wait for anybody…-From Krishna nee BEgane baaro, Colonial Cousins [Full details here]

I like this line simply because this is the simplest, unquestionable truth on this universe.

2. He was a boy, she was a girl, Can I make it any more obvious?-Skater Boy-Avril Lavigne-[full lyrics]

Hindi movies dedicate one third of their time to convey that hero and heroine are in love, while this line makes things obvious at the very beginning, in simple straight forward style, saving all the drama. Saves lot of time and effort you see…

3. Ain’t no use complainin', when you got a job to do…-Summer of ’69, Bryan Adams.[Full Lyrics]

If you have a job and a regular source of income, you’re luckier than billions of people on this planet. Complaining too much about the job at hand is not good…I’m not saying compromise, but what I’m saying is back office gossiping will take you no where…

4.Acting like you're somebody else gets me frustrated -Arvil Lavigne again…Complicated…[Full lyrics]

Many people blindly follow others or act without thinking. I’ve seen many enrolling for cheapest available SAP courses, just because they heard someone saying "SAP has got lot of demand", Girlfriend says she likes Dhoni's hairstyle and the boy tortures his barber next day for Dhoni hairstyle...We should try to build our own identity instead of faking others. That's my opinion.

5. AAankhon mein sapne liye
Ghar se hum chal to diye
Jaane yeh raahein ab le jaayengi kahan
(Shaan, Tanha Dil)
All youngsters who started their career with lots of ambition will certainly appreciate this song...

Above are some of my most favorite songs. I also like Adnan Sami's lift karade, besides several others, about which I'll write later...

Below is an interesting video...My friend NR Bhat showed it to is a song titled Mahiya sung at an IIT function. The lyrics is interesting to hear and is composed of Hindi and English. They call this singer Indian Shakira...

Video source: Youtube
Laptop and internet courtesy for this post: NR Bhat.

ನನಗೆ ಇಷ್ಟವಾಗುವ ಕನ್ನಡ ಹಾಡಿನ ಸಾಲುಗಳು ಬಹಳ ಇವೆ. ಅವುಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಇನ್ನೊಮ್ಮೆ ಬರೆಯುತ್ತೇನೆ. ನಿಮ್ಮ ಅಚ್ಚುಮೆಚ್ಚಿನ ಕವಿತೆಯ ಸಾಲುಗಳು ಯಾವುದೆ೦ದು ಕಮೆ೦ಟಿಸಿ...

I invite you to drop a comment on one or two of your favorite song lines and tell us why. If your song is in language other than English/Hindi/Kannada, pls give translation.